2008 Olympic Marathon Champ Dies in a Fall

Sammy Wanjiru was in a dispute with his wife, and another woman.

Posted: 05/16/2011 02:36 PM EDT

The 2008 Beijing Olympics marathon champion, Sammy Wanjiru, 24, died under suspicious circumstances on Sunday night. What is established is that he fell from a second-floor balcony at his home. A Kenyan police spokesperson has said that earlier Wanjiru had been found by his wife with another woman.


Last December, the police had charged Wanjiru with possessing an automatic rifle illegally, and threatening his wife’s life. The charges were later dismissed.


Wanjiru was one of the East African country of Kenya's many elite long-distance runners. Wanjiru used the Beijing victory as a starting block and was the top men’s marathoner in 2009 and 2010. Last January, he was injured in an auto accident and withdrew from the London Marathon.


He was, however, favored to defend his Olympic gold in the marathon at the 2012 London Olympic Games.


See Wanjiru win the 2009 Chicago marathon and view a fan tribute to him.

 (Photo: Jim Prisching/Getty Images)